November 29, 2023 (MOMBASA, Kenya): IGAD Member States Ministers responsible for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE), together with representatives from Member State Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, convene to adopt the IGAD Regional Gender Strategy and IGAD Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
Over three intensive days, the meeting commenced with an expert panel reviewing the crucial strategic documents. Day two witnessed the endorsement by the IGAD committee of Ambassadors, culminating in the official adoption by the member state ministers overseeing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment on the final day.
The opening session for the ministerial meeting set a tone of gratitude and commitment.
Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, IGAD Executive Secretary, lauded the tireless dedication exhibited by member states, development partners, and the IGAD gender department throughout the rigorous two-year developmental process. He stressed the urgency of propelling the implementation phase, recognising women and children as the primary victims of conflict, violence, and climate-related disasters. “These Regional Policy instruments signify our united pledge towards gender equality. Together, we chart the course for positive regional transformation,” he emphasised.
Hon. Aisha Jumwa, Cabinet Secretary for Gender, the Arts, and Heritage, Kenya, echoed the sentiment that gender equality and women’s empowerment are not only fundamental rights but also indispensable prerequisites for sustainable peace and development. Drawing from history, she highlighted women’s resilience, courage, and leadership during conflicts and diverse challenges. “Their voices and experiences are invaluable in shaping policies addressing conflict root causes, contributing to enduring peace,” she emphasised.
Minister for Women and Family Affairs, Hon. Mouna Osman Aden, representing Djibouti as the IGAD chair, pledged to lead the regional gender agenda. She underscored the alignment between the documents’ objectives and national gender policies adopted by member states, signalling a shared commitment to fostering equality, equity, inclusion, and peace. “Today’s acknowledgment of gender’s pivotal role in promoting peace and security reaffirms our region’s resilience in confronting contemporary challenges,” she stated.
Ms. Amina Farah, IGAD Gender Manager, expressed gratitude for the unwavering support from member states, development partners, and the resolute backing of the IGAD Executive Secretary. Emphasising that this is merely the beginning, she affirmed readiness to embark on the implementation phase. “Let’s make the Gender Agenda our Agenda,” she rallied.
The IGAD Gender Strategy 2023-2030 serves as a cornerstone in IGAD’s developmental and peacebuilding pursuits, aligning with global commitments such as the Africa 2063 agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Promoting gender equality stands as a crucial catalyst for ensuring stability and sustainable development across the region.
The significance of the Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security lies in its aim to elevate women’s roles in peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
The event was organised in partnership with the UN Women East and Southern Africa(ESARO), Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, and the Governments of Sweden and Canada.
Download attached IGAD Gender Strategy 2023-2030 and Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security for the IGAD Region.